Tuesday, June 28, 2016

4 April 2016 Another Place Revisited

The trip seemed to be a time to visit a few old caching locations. After I left the office I wanted to hunt for a few caches, but it was still very cold. I headed toward the hotel finally deciding to stop for a walk along the Erie Canal.

Like Stiglmeier Park from the afternoon before, this location is greatly changed from my first visit in spring 2005. When I stopped then, we had just recently started caching. I was up early one morning and decided to stop for an early walk to look for a cache called My Name Is Mud. I had no idea what this trail was like. About 45 minutes later I dragged my completely muddy, scratched-up self back to my car with no find. My trip to the office waited a bit while I drove back to the hotel and had a nice, long shower to shed all the mud. Almost a year later in the spring of 2006, I returned to the same location to successfully avenge a dnf.

This evening I returned to a changed area. The pool-sized mud puddles are gone. They have been replaced by a wonderful, paved all-purpose trail. The bumpy, gravel parking lot is now a nicely paved lot. It is a great place to walk for an easy cache or two. I stopped for a couple and decided to move on.

Monday, June 27, 2016

3 April 2016 8 1/2 Years

It had been a long time since my last visit to Stiglmeier Park. I had great adventures here over a three year period. It was a place where deer would walk up as you were signing a cache. They would never get close, but were often watching. Then my career changed. My travel patterns changed. Stiglmeier slipped away. I was traveling on this Sunday, hoping for amazing spring weather, and looking for a park to visit for some serious walking. It was cold. It started raining... a lot. I found a few caches and decided to leave.

The park has changed a lot in 8 1/2 years. The slightly overgrown paths are now clearly marked. The wet areas are covered in boardwalks. Many of the paths are now gravel. For lack of a better term, it is a gentrified park.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

2 April 2016 Hillandale Park

Hillandale is an area with a bit of unrealized history. The northern section of the land is a City of Euclid park. The area to the south was poised for development in the late 1920's, but died with the market crash. The land once again became part of development plans in 2008 and once again those plans died as the economy crashed. The remains of the original bridge still remain. It is in poor shape, but can be crossed. It was a grand bridge in it's day and the undeveloped land has natural beauty.

The edge of the woods surprised us with a number of spring wildflowers. There were bloodroot everywhere and spring beauty. We found fewer trout lily, but their leaves were present.

Even as it slowly fades away, the bridge is an attractive piece of what might have been.

The lower supports of the bridge provide the canvas for the local graffiti artists.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

26 March 2016 Another Caching Milestone

Really Phineas, pillows were not created for you to rest while looking out the window for the neighbor's chihuahua.

Phin kept vigil for our neighbors' dogs while Ali plotted out our trip for our 14,000th find. There wasn't much plotting left since we had already agreed the milestone cache would be St. Marys Rocks. It's a 4 1/2 terrain cache and it's in the.... rocks. The decision on the milestone was easy. The planning was what few caches would come before and what might come after. Normally we would just get to the milestone and cache on until it was late. On March 26th late comes a little earlier in Elk County Pennsylvania.

The grey of the day before had been replaced by a bright, blue spring sky.

Not all the uphill hiking was on trail. This section was a spirited scramble over the rocks.

We always try to celebrate these milestones as happy moments together. We try to capture the milestone with an image including the dogs. The activity is usually three, four, five, six who knows how many attempts. We got fairly close this time in four. Our first included Phineas suddenly launching himself across Ali and into my lap while Lizzie offered... a butt shot.

It wouldn't be a milestone without a double butt shot.

Lizzie got in the spirit. She was a little dirty from the trail. Phineas seemed to have forgotten we were there.

The final take isn't perfect, but we were having fun.

We stayed a bit at the rocks to explore and enjoy the milestone. We've been caching almost twelve years and have had fourteen of these 1,000 cache milestones so they don't happen often for us.

There were biologs along the side of the road. The logs made for great barriers and created pools for egg masses.

Some of the masses were already hatched and the pools were filled with amphibians swimming.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

25 March 2016 Return to the Hatch Run Series

With a half-day holiday and a later sunset, it was time to finally re-revisit the Hatch Run GeoTrail. We had both been tentative about a return to the series after Phineas' escape during our last visit to the geotrail. Today, we decided to make a visit to the Collins Pine trails hosting part of the geotour. We both feel safer with Phineas being double-leashed, but are still always aware of his escape artist abilities.

Early Easter weekends are always a dice roll with the weather. This one was cold. Not cold enough to risk snow, but a biting cold to keep one moving on the trail. It was also dark grey. As a youth, I always looked for Good Friday to be a bright sunny day. The kick-off to a week of playing. One perfect for basketball on an outdoor court or an early pick-up baseball game. My memory is all those days were bright and sunny. ;) The years can dim reality.

The afternoon was a quiet (if you don't count a baying beagle) time in nature. There was coltsfoot blooming. Ali spotted egg masses in first a few than many roadside culverts. I forget who spotted a bird's nest low in a tree.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

23 March 2016 Moebius Nature Center

With a new office location there are a few caches nearby which we haven't found including a whereigo at Moebius Nature Center. The nature center grounds aren't large, but it is a pleasant place to walk and visit. I was hoping for a few birds and maybe a few ducks, but was only able to spot a few red-winged blackbirds near the water.

The farm next door has a number of horses. Today they were in the pasture near the nature center drive.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

20 March 2016 Titusville to Cambridge Springs Trolley Line

The Titusville to Cambridge Springs Trolley Line never came to completion. The grade was completed in 1913, but the trolley never came to be. Today it is a part of the Erie National Wildlife Reserve. This afternoon we enjoyed a walk along the the old trolley grade.

Some day I will have the opportunity to experience the taste of ramps. These wild onions are relatively common around us, but we were passed by on their bounty.

After our walk we stopped for a cache at a cemetery in Cambridge Springs. We didn't find the cache, but we stopped by the marker for the town's founder and Revolutionary War Veteran Jonathan Vancourt.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

19 March 2016 Tsuga Trail

A cacher was finally able to convince the Erie National Wildlife Refuge to permit physical geocaches. We were very happy to spend time on the trail this afternoon.

This old Maverick was a sight from days gone by. It turned at an intersection and we followed it for a bit. This appeared to be a true base model with no external options visible. It looked to be in great shape.

The trails at ENWR are easy walking. We were hoping to spot birds passing through, but were happy with just a pleasant walk.

The beavers were busy in this section of the Refuge.

The results of the beavers' efforts are visible in these wet areas.